Cool but you can also make a cheap version with a piece of copper pipe and a neodymium magnet. It works great!
Or go cheap and buy a copper or aluminum tube on Amazon and a stack of magnets that will fit.
and a magnet to fit, such as
$23 and you have magnets left over.
Or go bigger or smaller depending on your budget or need of adventure.
Copper pipe at hardware store will be even cheaper. Magnets are super cheap on aliexpress.
How is this an oddity, though?
A problem put to my 300-level E&M class:
If you drop a spherical rare-earth magnet into a (copper, aluminum) tube slightly larger than it is, will the magnet align itself to the tube? If it does, will it align parallel or normal to the tube’s axis?
That’s pretty incredible… for about 2 minutes. Then … it’s just a ball moving slowly through a tube. $81. Hmmm…
Special, today only, half off!
The magnet “feels the full effects of gravity” the whole time, there’s just an opposing force that slows it while it passes through the tube.
Hmm…not sure boing boing store is really grasping the concept of “just” in this case. Not really what I want to pay for something that is literally seconds of fun. Seconds.
It’s a nicely packaged physics demo. But the video attempting to show how “fun” it is, including juggling the magnet and using multiple tubes (extra tubes not included) is kind of a hard fail.
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